Football / Primera Liga: Real And Schuster Walk Tightrope
Posted November 22, 2008on:
Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster.
MADRID: Real Madrid players have been coming out in support of under pressure coach Bernd Schuster but the German manager knows results are what count and a home win against Recreativo Huelva today is crucial for both coach and club.
League leaders Barcelona have opened up a five-point gap over fourth-placed Real and the champions can’t afford another slip-up after a 1-0 defeat at Valladolid last weekend that means they have collected four points from their last nine.
All the talk this week has been of who is going to replace Schuster — with AC Milan coach Carlos Ancelotti the big name mentioned in the Spanish newspapers — but everyone at the Santiago Bernabeu has been unusually tight-lipped in the press.
Midfielder Javi Garcia, who made his first league start against Valladolid last weekend, insists a new coach is not the answer to Real’s current problems.
“Changing the coach is not necessary. It is not the solution,” said Garcia. “It is a bad run but we are all 100 per cent behind the coach.
“There are a lot of experienced people here who have overcome similar situations. It is not easy to play well for the whole season.”
Last season it was Barcelona and their now departed coach, Frank Rijkaard who were in crisis but now their fans are gloating after scoring 36 goals in 28 games and conceding just eight — meaning they have the best attack and defence in the league.
Barca hold a three-point cushion over Villarreal and will hope their title rivals drop points today before their home match against Getafe tomorrow.
Pep Guardiola’s team are targeting a 10th straight league win and midfielder Xavi, currently discussing a contract extension beyond 2010, is hungry for a silverware-laden season after two barren years with Barca.
“I am an optimist and I think we could do the league, Kings Cup and Champions League treble,” Xavi told El Mundo Deportivo newspaper.
“We want to win the treble and think we have the team and talent to do it.”
Villarreal, still unbeaten, can move level on points with Barcelona providing they can defeat Valladolid today.
The undoubted game of the weekend also takes place today with title hopefuls Sevilla and Valencia locking horns in Seville.
Valencia sit two places above Sevilla in third, however, it is only on goal difference with both teams on 23 points.
TODAY: Real Madrid v Recreativo Huelva, Villarreal v Valladolid, Sevilla v Valencia; TOMORROW: Real Mallorca v Malaga, Osasuna v Almeria, Numancia v Atletico Madrid, Racing Santander v Espanyol, Sporting Gijon v Real Betis, Barcelona v Getafe, Deportivo La Coruna v Athletic Bilbao. — AFP
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